The Mystical Arts of Tibet Featuring the Tibetan Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery

Joel Luks

Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery will construct a mandala sand painting and perform special ceremonies August 18-21 in Asia Society Texas Center’s Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery. During this ritual, millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place in order to purify and heal the environment and its inhabitants.


Live Stream

Day 4


Gallery Hours

Because the event is offered free to the public, at high traffic times admission is not guaranteed. Overflow seating with a simulcast of the monks working will be offered in the Education Center.

Thursday, August 18: 12 pm-6 pm
Friday, August 19: 10 am-6 pm
Saturday, August 20: 10 am-7 pm*
Sunday, August 21: 10 am-completion of Closing Ceremony

*The monks will be working on the sand mandala from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, August 20. The gallery will remain open until 7 pm for visitors to view the sand mandala.


Special Events

Opening Ceremony | Thursday, August 18, 12 pm | FREE Admission
The mandala sand painting begins with an opening ceremony, during which the lamas consecrate the site and call forth the forces of goodness through chanting, music, and mantra recitation. The lamas then begin the painting by drawing an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. In the following days, they lay the colored sands using a traditional metal funnel called a chakpur.

Community Mandala | Saturday, August 20, 11 am-3 pm (while supplies last) | FREE
Guests are invited to take part in the art by contributing to a separate community sand painting on Saturday. Instruction will be given on how to use the chakpur to fill in the design with sand.

Sacred Music and Dance Performance | Saturday, August 20, 7 pm | SOLD OUT
Presenting Sponsor: Bank of America
Robed in magnificent costumes and playing traditional Tibetan instruments, the Drepung Loseling monks perform ancient temple music and dance intended to kindle world healing. The Loseling monks are particularly renowned for their multiphonic chanting known as zokkay (complete chord). Each of the main chantmasters simultaneously intones three notes, thus each individually creating a complete chord.

Closing Ceremony | Sunday, August 21, 3 pm | FREE Admission
The monks will dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of life. Half of the sands will be distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while supplies last, and the remainder will be deposited into a natural body of water.


About Mandala Sand Paintings

This artistic tradition of Tantric Buddhism, painting with colored sand, ranks as one of the most unique and exquisite. Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days or weeks to form the image of a mandala. To date, the monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning sacred cosmogram. These cosmograms can be created in various media, such as watercolor on canvas, wood carvings, and so forth. However, the most spectacular and enduringly popular are those made from colored sand.

In general, all mandalas have outer, inner, and secret meanings. On the outer level they represent the world in its divine form; on the inner level they represent a map by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into enlightened mind; and on the secret level they depict the primordially perfect balance of the subtle energies of the body and the clear-light dimension of the mind. The creation of a sand painting is said to effect purification and healing on these three levels.


The Mystical Arts of Tibet tours are organized by the Drepung Loseling Monastery. The exhibition at Asia Society Texas Center and is made possible through major support from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Mary Lawrence Porter, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Nancy and Robert J. Carney, The Clayton Fund, the Hearst Foundations, Reinnette and Stan Marek, and anonymous friends of Asia Society. Lead funding also provided by Holland and Jereann Chaney, The Favrot Fund, Bebe Woolley and Dan Gorski, and Dorothy Carsey Sumner, with additional support provided by Olive M. Jenney. Funding is also provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts and through contributions from the Friends of Exhibitions, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional visual art to Asia Society Texas Center.


Event Details

Thu 18 Aug 2016 - Sun 21 Aug 2016
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

1370 Southmore Blvd Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901

Gallery times differ each day. Please see the "Gallery Hours" and "Special Events" sections for more information. The exhibition and its related events (with the exception of Saturday's ticketed performance) are free and open to the public.
Add to Calendar 20160818T170000 20160821T230000 UTC Asia Society: The Mystical Arts of Tibet Featuring the Tibetan Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery 1370 Southmore Blvd Houston, TX 77004 713.496.9901